Grace Alvarez Sesma, a cultural practitioner of Yaqui descent, was born in Mexico. Called to the path of curanderismo (a traditional Mexican healing system) in childhood, she was profoundly influenced by the work of one of her aunts, a curandera, and an uncle who was a well-known huesero, as well as by her mother’s remedies that were part of her family’s daily life.
Beginning in early childhood, Grace was visited in dreams by Our Lady of Guadalupe and a group of Indigenous Grandmothers dressed in the traditional clothing of different Native tribes of the Americas, who urged her to return to Indigenous healing ways and help bring forth the call from Mother Earth for a return to Indigenous values and the protection of the land, water, and holy places.
Keeping the words of the ancestors in her heart, in 2013 she successfully launched an online social media campaign that helped stop the trademarking of Día de los Muertos by The Walt Disney Company.
In addition to her healing practice, Grace is a facilitator for the Academy for Professional Excellence at San Diego State University School of Social Work, and she annually serves as Elder-in-Residence at the First Nations Iskotew and Kumik teaching lodges in Canada.
Grace is a 1993 Fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, a collaborative project with the Center for Creative Leadership and Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a member of the Kumeyaay-led Kanap Kuahan (Tell the Truth) Coalition, an advisor to House of the Moon (an Indigenous healing and restoration program to address the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women/People crisis), and a board member of the Yaquis of Southern California.
Grace is an engaging cultural educator who helps organizations understand and be responsive to the historical experiences of Indigenous peoples as well as contemporary issues affecting them. She warmly welcomes into her circle those who are ready to listen with an open heart and are willing to do the work of healing, understanding, and supporting Indigenous culture and traditions.